Auto Tech

Elon Musk promises over-the-air Model 3 braking fix

It should -- keyword should -- address the inconsistencies that multiple outlets have experienced.

Tesla

After Consumer Reports said Tesla's Model 3 didn't earn its recommendation, Elon Musk took to Twitter to promise a fix -- via an over-the-air software update, no less.

According to Musk's tweets, the problem that led to inconsistent braking results "looks like" it can be fixed with an over-the-air firmware update. In traditional Musk fashion, he also used that tweet to promise that, in time, the Model 3 will out-brake the competition.

While you might be wondering how larger brake pads and calipers can be sent to owners over the air, it's not exactly the hardware's fault. According to a different Musk tweet (it's hard to keep track of all these), the problem is likely due to the calibration algorithm in its antilock braking system. Thus, an over-the-air update can potentially remedy the issue, although if you intend on taking your Model 3 to the track, it's still a wise idea to upgrade the pads and rotors to more durable versions.

Musk also addressed other points CR made in its assessment of the Model 3. He said that CR's tester is an early model, and subsequent tweaks to later vehicles have addressed issues such as wind noise and wide comfort.

That's all well and good, but what of the myriad Model 3 owners who aren't just buying these cars for evaluation's sake? Did early owners understand that they might get shafted on NVH improvements? What does that do to the resale value of early models? Over-the-air updates are one thing, because everyone gets them, but when it comes to adding or adjusting physical components, owners can't just drive back to Fremont and ask a tech to slap on the new bits.

This isn't the first time Musk has adjusted something in response to a critical review. Edmunds originally reported serious lane-tracking issues with the Autopilot in its Model 3 over a specific kind of road. A subsequent software update eliminated the issue. Some of Roadshow's criticisms during our evaluation, such as the location of the cruise speed adjustment and the functionality of windshield wiper controls, have also been addressed in later updates.